Home Support system From Wisconsin football All-Americans to Super Bowl teammates, Rams linemen treasure Badgers relationships | national

From Wisconsin football All-Americans to Super Bowl teammates, Rams linemen treasure Badgers relationships | national


Wisconsin Offensive Coordinator Bobby Engram meets with reporters to discuss changes coming to the Badgers offense, why he chose to join the Badgers and more

Los Angeles Rams offensive linemen Rob Havenstein and David Edwards typically carpool to the team hotel the night before home games.

Those extra hours in traffic are times Edwards cherishes. The two former stars of the University of Wisconsin have time to reminisce about their time in Madison. Their academic careers did not overlap, but their experiences were similar. Edwards, the team’s left guard, can also tap into the brains of Havenstein, a veteran right tackle, on a number of topics before their attention turns to the game ahead.

It’s a perfectly normal scene, other than the fact that the job they’re heading towards is the NFL. Two friends, colleagues, blowing the breeze as they walk to the office.

Havenstein and Edwards have yet to decide whether they will ride together ahead of their team’s next game – Super Bowl LVI, in which the Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, the home ground in Los Angeles. Both players said this week that finding normality before the most publicized moment in the sporting calendar is a crucial, but difficult task.

“I think trying to appreciate the seriousness of this game and understanding that this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Edwards, who is in his third season with LA. “I really appreciate the team that we have and the success that we had in winning this opportunity. I just try not to take it for granted and try to enjoy the moment.

Havenstein, who is in his seventh year with the Rams, added: “If you get too excited, you almost have to lie to yourself and convince yourself like, ‘Hey, at the end of the day, we’re playing another game. C ‘is a big game, obviously, but it’s the NFL, what game isn’t big?’ »

Havenstein previously held this position. He started for the Rams four years ago in Super Bowl LIII when LA fell to the New England Patriots 13-3. The memories of that loss were formative for him and for the entire Rams organization.

“Guys can take it one of two ways – you can take it and just go in the tank about, ‘We lost the Super Bowl, blah, blah, blah, we had a real chance to win this thing and we didn’t,” Havenstein said.

“Or you take it as every failure you’ve had in your life where you just go and learn from it. You take the experience and you move on and you get better. It’s something that I think we’ve done a really good job with here with the Rams, it comes from our top down – everything we do is a learning experience to go forward and come back to the ultimate goal. Thirty-two other teams start their season every training camp saying our goal is to win the Super Bowl, now we have an opportunity to go do it.

LA went 12-5 this season before knocking out division rival Arizona 34-11 in the first round of the playoffs. The Rams’ path to the Super Bowl got tougher from there, holding off defending champion Tampa Bay 30-27 after the Buccaneers came back from a 27-3 deficit, then beating San Francisco 20-17 in of the NFC Championship game. The Rams scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to snap a six-game skid against the 49ers.

The former Badgers praised what each other brings to the team and the offensive line, and said their similar paths to the NFL and knowledge bases help them when breaking down an opponent. Edwards remembers well the first time he ran into Havenstein. Edwards was on a recruiting visit to the UW and at the time was the high school quarterback the Badgers thought he could play at the short end. Edwards watched Melvin Gordon rush for a then-FBS record 408 yards against Nebraska on November 15, 2014, and crossed Havenstein after the game.

“I remember seeing him after the game, walking past him and saying, ‘Damn man, this guy is huge,'” Edwards said with a big laugh. “We had Kyle Costigan as kind of like our mutual friend. (Costigan) was his right guard then my strength coach (at UW). So I think we kind of connected initially through Kyle, just telling stories about him and what a great guy he is and the impact he’s had on us. But being able to learn from him and some ropes, knowing he was from the same place, I think is really cool.

“I don’t tell him all the time, but (our rides are) one of my favorite times of the week. We’ll tell stories about when he was in Wisconsin, when I was in Wisconsin, the big games we played and the people we met. Things like that are what I will remember forever, the relationships you build with your teammates. Rob and I have a great relationship and coming from the same place is obviously great.

Edwards (2017) and Havenstein (2014) were both first-team All-Americans for the Badgers and regular starters for the Rams since being drafted.

Havenstein enjoyed becoming a player whose experience carries weight in the locker room. He and other veterans helped set the tone in the locker room as the Rams went all out to chase a championship and acquire players like quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and linebacker Von Miller.

Havenstein advised Edwards and the other players to do all their off-field business for the game, such as securing tickets and accommodations for family and friends, by the end of the bye week. He also says winning a Super Bowl requires more than just roster players to join.

“I think another thing is just having your, whoever it is, your wife, your kids, your mom, your dad, your girlfriend, whatever — having your support system really in tune and really locked in to help you win this game,” Havenstein said. .

“You can’t do much without them, especially me personally. Having my wife as amazing as she is, she handles a lot so I don’t have to worry or stress about those two weeks I don’t need. So having a good support system really helps, no matter who you work with. It doesn’t matter who it is, but to have them informed and helped in any way possible is just awesome.